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Startup Stories: Paul Weingarth, Co-Founder & CEO at Slyp

Slyp co-founder, Paul Weingarth, joined us to talk about how his personal experience led him to launching a fintech start-up.

by hao-nguyen on November 4, 2021

Paul Weingarth is the co-founder & CEO at Slyp, an Australian fintech start-up backed by all four major banks, including CBA, NAB, ANZ, and Westpac’s Reinventure.

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Hey Paul, really great to have you here to chat with us. For those who may not know, could you tell us a little about Slyp and what inspired you to start the company?

Slyp is an Australian fintech transforming the world of receipts. We have created the Slyp Smart Receipt, a connected, interactive and intuitive receipt that is automatically sent to a customer’s mobile banking app immediately following a purchase.

We are the only Australian fintech backed by all four big banks, and have rolled out with major retailers including Chemist Warehouse, Cue, General Pants Co and Harris Farm Markets. 

In 2016, I was on long service leave from PayPal and wanted to nurture my inner craftsman by building some wooden furniture for our home. At my local hardware store I picked out the equipment I needed and paid by tapping my watch using Apple Pay.

When the transaction was complete, the cashier handed me a 50cm-long paper receipt and advised me to take a photo and email it to myself, explaining that receipts are required for warranties and returns and that they can fade after 90 days.  

I left the store scratching my head thinking: how can we make payments using a smartphone but still have something as outdated as a paper receipt?

From there the “payments nerd” in me took over. I spent the remainder of my leave exploring the Smart Receipt concept, and after a year of research and development, assembled the team that invented the Smart Receipt and brought Slyp to life.  

That’s a great origin story! In addition to your personal experience, what other pain points did you see in the market that led you to creating Smart Receipts?

One big one is the environmental factor. If you think about how many times you have accepted a receipt at the checkout only to tuck it in your back pocket, add it to an existing receipt pile on the kitchen bench, or discard it straight into the bin, you begin to realise how wasteful they are. Ditching paper receipts is a really simple way to become a more sustainable consumer.

Another is having to retain proof of purchase. Rather than needing to keep paper receipts on file, email them to yourself or trawl through online bank statements, Smart Receipts live in the banking app and can be easily recalled for returns, warranties or expense claims. 

These are factors that go towards reducing friction for the customer. Using Slyp means that instead of producing a loyalty card, sharing personal data (emails, DOB, postcodes etc), and then proceeding to payment at checkout, the process is combined into a single tap-and-go experience that allows customers to reap all the benefits of a loyalty scheme with none of the hassle.

Right now as we’re doing this interview, restrictions are start to lift around Australia. How do you see consumer behaviours shifting as part of this?

The obvious one will be the change in preference for contactless payment. It’s estimated that around 90 percent of all debit and credit card transactions are now contactless, rather than chip and PIN.

Of these contactless transactions, more than half are using digital means of payment such as digital wallets on smartphones or wearable devices, demonstrating the customer’s desire for a convenient, connected experience.  We expect this preference for digital payments to accelerate further in the coming months and years.

Now more than ever, customers are the ones in charge and their preferences increasingly influence retail offerings. As consumers push for greater personalisation and frictionless in-store experiences, retailers and hospitality venues will need to respond by investing in innovative products to make in person transactions as seamless and efficient as possible.  

Switching gears a bit, you’ve been running your own start-up for the past few years, and you’re also an advisor at early-stage VC firm, Antler. Based on your own experiences, what do you think are the key traits that lead to start-up success?  

Starting out, it is really important to take the time to thoroughly investigate the customer problem that you are trying to solve. This requires deep customer research and importantly, you need to minimise any biases that may be present.

Once you have validated the problem, it’s important that you test your solution as efficiently as possible. The more “smoke and mirrors” your solution has at this phase, the better!

Often startups will go and build an advanced solution that is not required to test it. This can cost you surplus time and money – the two most important commodities for any new venture. Our first prototype was built in 2 days. We took a lot of learnings from our prototype and testing phase before we built our bank-grade platform.  

As you then look to build and scale your team, the biggest factor is establishing a core set of company values. It is essential that these values can be ingrained into your culture. Your company values set the “north star” of your decision-making process and will help you align on who you want to hire to help build the company.

One last question before we leave you to it, what are your long-term goals for Slyp?

We are working to unburden the world of paper receipts. They create chaos for customers, are bad for the environment, and are a missed engagement opportunity for retailers. In their current form, receipts are one dimensional, acting only as proof of purchase for claims including returns, warranty and expenses.

Slyp re-imagines receipts by placing the customer at the centre of the experience and leveraging data to deliver optimal customer experiences. Long term we see Slyp in the hands of every Australian shopper, as a tool that will intuitively help them to build a relationship with retailers. 

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